CHICAGO (CBS)—A 911 recording released to CBS 2 reveals a white firefighter calling police to report he had drawn a firearm on a black man he believed to be breaking into a vehicle in the Bridgeport neighborhood on Aug. 24.
The man taken down by the firefighter, Jermayne Smith, claims the firefighter falsely identified himself as a police officer as he was out running errands on that late-summer night.
On the 911 recording, the firefighter is heard saying, “I need police here right now. I got a man down. I got a conceal carry. I caught him breaking into my car.”
Smith told CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez what was happening while the firefighter was on the phone with 911.
“It still haunts me,” Smith said. “He (was) still holding the gun on me—while he was on the phone he was still looking at me and still had the gun pointed toward me.”
Smith says he was running a work related errand in Bridgeport when a man burst from a house with a gun. The 911 tape confirms it.
“You have a gun on you?” the dispatcher asks.
“Correct, yes I do I have concealed carry,” the firefighter replies.
“Got it. Wait for the police,” the dispatcher says.
Smith says what the recording doesn’t reveal is that moments earlier the man told him he was a police officer.
“If nothing happens to him – then it’s just that anybody can do it and they can get away with it,” Smith said.
Smith – who believes he was targeted because of his race- says police at the scene knew he hadn’t touched the car.
“If you believe I touched your car we can do fingerprints right now,” Smith said. “They said you don’t need to do all that – he just said he thought he saw you.”
Smith was released and so was the homeowner believed to be a firefighter. CBS 2 is not naming him because he’s not charged with a crime.
And that’s the part that troubles Smith.
He filed complaints with the ninth police district and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) in August. He is still waiting for the Inspector General to complete an investigation.
“I think they’re waiting on me to say ‘you know what, it’s OK,’” Smith said. “It’ll blow over. but I’m not gonna let that happen.”
He added, “It’s too important–this could happen to anybody.”
Smith said he plans to keep pressing forward with his complaint. CBS 2 has requested dash cam video of the incident, and will follow up with the results of the Inspector General report.